ORMOND-BY-THE-SEA, Fla. - A 11-foot pygmy sperm whale that beached itself Monday in Volusia County had to be euthanized, officials said.
The whale, estimated to be 12 to 16 years old, had a heart condition that likely caused the beaching at Ormond-By-The-Sea, a SeaWorld Orlando veterinarian said.
Dozens of people surrounded the whale near the 1900 block of Ocean Shore Boulevard, with some beachgoers trying to help the whale while others took pictures with their cellphones.
Local 6 helicopter Sky 6 showed beachgoers wrapping towels around the whale and pouring water on it.
The SeaWorld veterinarian said the whale had no chance of surviving and was suffering from a heart condition common with pygmy sperm whales for months.
University of Florida veterinarian, Craig Pelton said the female whale weighed about 1,200 pounds which is three times less of what the whale should have weighed.
"She won't survive. Putting her back in the whale would prolong her agonizing death," Pelton said Monday.
Pelton said the whale wouldn't be able to survive being transported to SeaWorld for treatment.
The whale was euthanized on the beach and taken to Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in Orlando where a necropsy will be conducted on the whale to confirm the illness.
After that organs and tissue from the whale will be used by researchers to learn more about the species.
Pygmy sperm whales are commonly spotted in the waters off Volusia County.
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